Archive for contemporary art sculpture – Page 2

Sharing 3D-printing possibilities

Some artists hold their processes close to their vests (where did that expression come from? Who wears a vest anymore? Sorry – mind wandering ….).

I’m not one of them.Arizona Artists Guild logo

I have a large and active YouTube channel with more than 450 videos in which I share metal fabrication and 3D-printing tips. I also have held many events for other artists at my studio and at my home, where I have my 3D printers (the studio is just too dirty – I make dirt there!). I’ve even held events for other artists at my art shows.

So when the Arizona Artists Guild asked me if I’d do a program for the organization’s sculpture group, of which I’m a member, I was glad to do it.

But this time, I decided to do it a little differently ….

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3D Printing Contributes to Evolution of Form

Limoncello Prima, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin Caron

Sometimes I just start creating, as I am doing with a metal sculpture in my studio right now.

Sometimes I design in CAD (which is how I got into 3D printing in the first place!) and then create the form in metal or resin.

And sometimes a sculpture evolves as it is created. That’s exactly what happened with a recent artwork, 50 Years of Limoncello.

Well, it really began with a call for an art show in New York. The show, “The HeART of Italy,” celebrates the spirit, history, people and places of that romantic land, where I spent time a couple of years ago.

Thinking about my time in Italy, I decided to use some of that luscious translucent yellow PLA filament to create a sculpture to submit to the show.

What I didn’t anticipate – but surely embraced – was how the artwork evolved. But then, that’s part of the beauty of creating art ….

 

I first printed a form that, as many of my sculptures do, celebrates the female form. After looking at it, I decided to use the same filament to create a more, shall we say, lusty sculpture.

But when I placed the two forms together, I began to see something else, an artwork composed of three forms. I decided to 3D print yet another sculpture, using the same beautiful yellow filament and the same basic design, but making it noticeably more slender than the other two.

The result is something that some in the art world might question (but what else is new about my work!), but that came together beautifully, simply because I followed my eye, my heart and my intuition.50 Years of Limoncello, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin Caron

The sculpture, 50 Years of Limoncello – that drink is one of my warm memories from my trip to Italy! – features three sculptures that, together, share the evolution of many of us who indulge in the pleasures of life. Each sculpture – Limoncello Prima, Limoncello Mezza and Limoncello Troppa – can stand on its own, yet together they create a story.

Now let’s just hope that the judges in that New York show love this piece as much as I do!

 

Surprises selling 3D-printed sculpture

Three of my large format 3D-printed sculptures at Vision Gallery - Kevin CaronI got great news this week when a check arrived from one of my retailers, Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona.

Vision has been carrying my work for a while, and for the past many months they have displayed the largest collection of my 3D-printed sculpture outside of a special show I did this past February. With glass walls on three exposures, the gallery is the perfect place for 3D-printed sculpture, especially light-hungry translucent pieces.

I wasn’t surprised that the sculpture they sold this month was Lemon Drop (shown on next page), a particularly luscious piece printed in translucent yellow PLA filament. Of all the translucents I’ve used thus far, the yellow is by far the most beautiful. It seems to capture and reflect the light.

The blue translucent is downright cold, although still beautiful, while the red tends to glow. The purple is more subtle, as evidenced in Josephine, a sculpture I recently completed that is on display at Vision Gallery. I love the emails I get from the gallery manager, who keeps snapping and sending photos of the sculptures as the light moves across the sky. She’ll write such reports as “Miss Josephine looks particularly sultry today.” That’s music to my ears: it means the art is as alive for her as it is for me.

What has surprised me, though, is who is buying my 3D-printed sculptures ….

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Double trouble: Is it original or a print?

Multiples of Sunscraper, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin Caron Most people who have wondered if 3D printed sculptures are art have now realized that 3D printers themselves are simply tools, like paintbrushes, potters’ wheels and cameras.

With 3D printing, however, some people continue to fear that once artists create their original CAD designs, they will then simply print popular sculptures over and over, creating the sort of “copies” 2D artists make with offset prints and giclees. Many in the art world are bothered when artists offer inexpensive (or sometimes not so inexpensive) copies of their work this way.

For me, although it is, of course, technically possible to print multiples, whether to do so is really a philosophical issue. I had to consciously consider and develop this philosophy as a lodestar for my 3D-printed creations.

Sure, once a design has proven popular, I could simply reprint multiples, but that isn’t something I choose to do any more than I do it when I create sculptures in metal. In metal, it is a little trickier to recreate a form exactly, which would be quite easy with 3D printing. Still, I think there are issues for patrons if they feel they are not really buying an original.

My philosophy is straightforward, but took a little time to think through ….

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Let there be light (with 3D printed translucent filament)

Sunscraper, a 3D printed contemporary art sculpture - Kevin CaronIn February during my one-person show devoted to my 3D-printed sculptures, I heard many interesting comments and questions.

One thing I was asked repeatedly is whether I’d ever put lights into a 3D printed sculpture.

This undoubtedly grew out of them seeing the luminous translucent filaments I’ve used, including ice blue (for the sculpture Easy In), red (several sculptures, including Redhead and Love and Marriage), purple (Twin Peaks and Love and Marriage) and – my favorite – yellow (SunScraper, right). The yellow just really lights up!

BTW, I’ve tried green “translucent” filament, too, which wasn’t really translucent and was, honestly, just pretty ugly.

The subject came up so often, in fact, that, of course, my mind got going ….

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Getting to Solid

Opioid, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin CaronLike most things, when you start looking below the surface, you find all sorts of nuances that make you realize that there is more than you realized to whatever you are doing. Well, at least to do it right!

For instance, I’d never thought about how to make a flat surface using 3D printing. After all, I do it all the time with metal – I make a very similar form to what you’ll see below to use as the strikers in most of my sound sculptures.

Besides, when I 3D print sculptures (or anything else), I have large expanses of filament. As you can see at right in my latest 3D print, Opioid, I have large expanses of solid filament “fabric,” but they aren’t horizontal. The printer does a fine job of creating these 3D printed “skins,” even in large sections.

But what if you want to create a flat surface? How does the 3D printer go from, say, printing the edges of something to filling in the area between the edges, especially if it is a pretty large expanse?

Well, that is a different story altogether …. Read More →

A thousand eyes: Artists look at 3D printing

Artists imagine the world - Kevin Caron“Artists imagine the world. Engineers build it.”

I’ve written before how a visitor to one of my art shows pointed out to me that artists – writers, filmmakers, sculptors, painters – often are the first to conceive of what at first seems impossible, and we all know how many ideas conceived by writers as diverse as Jules Verne and Gene Roddenberry have come to fruition.

With 3D printing, I’m just one of many artists who have embraced the technology.

I don’t know whether an artist first came up with the idea of printing in three dimensions, but many artists are now doing as I am, which is taking technology that was created for something different altogether and using it to create art.

It’s been interesting to see the different ways various artist are using the medium …
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Taking a tumble: burnishing 3D-printed bronze

The Point, a 3D printed bronze sculpture - Kevin CaronMany sculptors work in bronze, but in my more than 10 years as a professional artist, I have worked in everything but. I have mostly fabricated in mild steel, but have also worked with stainless steel, Cor-ten (weathering) steel, aluminum, brass and copper.

Finally, with 3D printing, I have my first bronze! Well, it’s 80% bronze and 20% PLA resin, but the resulting print is clearly a different breed than the ABS and PLA resins I usually print in.

For one thing, it’s noticeably heavier. Seeing as I’m printed just two or three layers thick, it’s amazing how much heavier these bronzes are than if they’d been printed in the resin I usually use.

(Of course, that gets my mind going … if I could print a solid bronze, how much would it weigh? How would it compare to the weight of a traditional poured bronze? And we’re off and running through the grassy fields of my mind ….)

One of the big differences is that the sculpture isn’t done once the printhead rises ….

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Chaos reality: 3D printer has a mind of its own

Cuddle - a 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronWorking with 3D printing in this “Model T” period means dealing with all sorts of surprises. All of them are probably maddeningly logical – these printers are run by computers, after all – but sometimes it’s hard to figure out why.

That was the case with a recent 3D printed sculpture I’m calling Cuddle (my wife keeps calling it Huddle – go figure).

Although the final print came out beautifully (except for the color, but that’s another story!), my Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer decided to get there in a mighty odd way ….

Admittedly, these prints are big. This particular one, although it’s far from as large as several I’ve done, is also complex. I had tried to print it three times before I reduced it in size and resliced it again. This time the sculpture finished printing, not even threatening to lift off the print tray, a problem I have with these large prints.

But as it printed, I noticed that the printhead was tracking really bizarrely. The head wouldn’t go around each “tower.” It didn’t go around the exterior of the entire sculpture and work its way in, either. It just seemed to hop from one area to another what appeared to be randomly.

Cuddle - void detail - in a 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronOf course, it wasn’t random – it’s a computer! – but it sure looked that way. Steve Graber, my 3D printing guru and the genius who built the Gigante and its little cousin the Cerberus 3D 250, even commented on the printhead’s chaotic path. Most of what it created, however, looked fine.

What was particularly strange, though, was the voids it created both in the bottom of the piece (below, right) and – thank goodness – on certain interior walls (left).

I’d learned from my experience with Sunscraper, the big yellow sculpture that I talked about in my last post, that I wanted to be very careful with interior walls after Kisslicer, the slicing program I use, decided to just eliminate them where they overlapped in the design. So this time I made sure that the walls didn’t touch but only butted up to each other.

Still, the program decided to leave really odd openings on either side of the walls on the bottom of the sculpture for no apparent reason. Fortunately, it has not seemed to jeopardize the sculpture’s structural integrity.

Cuddle - detail of voids in bottom of the 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronThe “windows” it made in the interior walls were a little more concerning, but ended up not making a difference in the print structurally or aesthetically because no one can see them.

Interestingly enough, the printhead would come up one side of the window, turn around and go back, then come up the other side and turn around. So it wasn’t jumping the space, although it did eventually “heal” the wall over them.

Again, the good news is that it didn’t seem to affect the sculpture in any meaningful way. You can’t even see the interior voids now that the sculpture is done.

What caused these aberrations? I don’t know if I’ll ever know, but I’ll continue to try to find ways around them.

Easy out

It’d been a while since I’d printed a large sculpture on my Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer, and I had a new design I wanted to try. So I sliced the file in KISSlicer, transferred the file to the printer, and started the print.

Beginning of printing sculpture Easy In - Kevin Caron

And so it begins ….

I’ve been avoiding really large prints – this 3D printer can create pieces as tall as 4-1/2 feet – because of the angst of printing for days on end. Glance, for instance, took five days of printing over a tortured 11 day period.

Steve Graber and I have made a lot of upgrades to the printer since then, though, so I had reason to be hopeful that this print would be peaceful and productive …..

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